OK, so at this point all of the various parts and pieces have pretty much been installed into our BYOC Tri-Booster, short of two things––the vast majority of the wiring, and of course the star of the show, our Germanium transistor.
Clip, Solder, And Repeat
Probably the single most annoying step in this whole build is the wiring… I don’t know about you, but my hands are big enough that soldering a bunch of tiny wires into the belly of this particularly small chassis isn’t a heckuva’ lot of fun.
Oh well, it’s got to be done. The key here is to take your time. If you’re going to make a mistake building the Tri Booster this is where you’re going to do it.
Luckily, once again BYOC’s diagram is pretty easy to follow, and even taking it slow you should be able to get your pedal all wired-up in less than an hour. Make sure you keep a 9v battery handy just to make sure that none of your creative wiring is going to get in the way of installing that battery.
Installing The Germanium Transistor
OK, so here it is: the last piece to install!
The Germanium transistor should have three different leads: what are known as the emitter, the base, and the collector. You’ll know the collector because that side of the transistor will be marked with a dot.
Follow the diagram in your official BYOC Instructions pdf, and you should be able to quickly get your transistor installed––you my need to clip the leads from the transistor a bit to get a nice fit, but what you’re aiming for is enough extra lead in the “base” lead so that you can easily bend the transistor down until it is parallel with the circuit board (upper right corner in photo.)
Solder that bad boy into place and you’re done with the build!
Testing And Biasing Well, it’s time to plug your new pedal in and see what it can do. I personally prefer 9v batteries, but if you purchased an AC adapter you can use that as well.
Flip your chassis over (don’t screw the back on yet,) plug a 1/4″ guitar cable into the right side (input) jack, and test that your LEDs are working. If your build was successful you should be able to produce three different colors depending on your settings.
With the rotary switch turned fully clockwise you should get a red light––that’s the Germanium Boost.
With the rotary in the middle position you should get a blue light––that’s the Linear Boost.
And with the rotary in the full counter-clockwise position you should get a green light––that’s the Clean Boost.
In Germanium Boost mode the tiny toggle switch at the top of the Tri Booster will give you three different tonal boost options: left is “Full,” right is “Mid,” and center is “Treble.” (Full is my favorite.)
Flip your chassis back over, and with a very small phillips head screwdriver you can bias the Clean Boost setting by adjusting the trimpot (bottom right corner of the installed circuit board.)
Turn your amp down to a low volume, turn up the volume on your new Tri-Booster pedal (left knob,) and then strum your guitar hard––adjust the trimpot until you get a good “clean” tone that you like (don’t tell anyone, but I actually adjusted mine kind of dirty, and it sounds sweet.) The effect of adjusting the trimpot is pretty subtle, so don’t worry if you don’t hear a huge difference… just find a sound you’re happy with.
Assuming everything is working well, screw the bottom onto the chassis, and then carefully place the rubber feet that came with your kit.
Final Word You’re done! You’ve built a badass boost pedal with nothing but your two bare hands (and a little help from Build Your Own Clone.) I’ll have a full review of the TriBooster in the next week or so, including sounds samples, but for now, suffice it to say I am VERY HAPPY with this kit––the build was fairly painless, and the finished product is easily one of the best boost pedals I’ve had the pleasure to play.